Anne Petera and Ben Sproul

Anne Petera and Ben Sproul

Two well-known candidates have filed for mayor’s race

It is shaping up to be an interesting fall election season in Kill Devil Hills.

      The filing period for this November's municipal elections began on Friday, July 5 and there are already two new candidates with political experience vying for the mayor's seat being vacated by Mayor Sheila Davies — Dare Board of Education Member Ben Sproul and recent Dare County Commissioner candidate Anne Petera.

      And, with more than a week before the filing period expires, several candidates have formally announced their interest in seeking a seat on the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners.

      Sproul, who is Marketing Communications Manager at Surf or Sound Realty, has served on the Dare County Board of Education since July 2008. Asked why he was running for mayor, he told the Sentinel, “I love where I live and I feel my leadership experience and passion for continual improvement through collaboration will help the next board chart an even brighter future for Kill Devil Hills.”

      Petera, a native of Richmond, VA, who retired with her husband to Kill Devil Hills in 2015 after a long career in both state and federal government, easily defeated Ed Danko in last year's GOP primary for an at-large seat on the Dare County Board of Commissioners. She then lost a close race in the November election to Democrat Ervin Bateman.

      In a statement announcing her candidacy, Petera said: “Kill Devil Hills is a wonderful community with unique features and challenges. It is my chosen home, and I want to work to ensure that all of what makes this town special is protected for future generations. We have many challenges in front of us — beach nourishment, housing for all, storm water management and keeping our taxes low. I am committed to these efforts and will work hard to earn the vote of my fellow citizens.”

      Davies and KDH Mayor Pro Tem Mike Hogan, who has also announced that he will not seek re-election this fall, have both endorsed the candidacy of Sproul.

      There are also three candidates who have filed as of the close of business on July 8 for two seats on the KDH Board of Commissioners that will be in play this fall.

      Nelson "Skip" Jones filed on July 8. He was appointed to the board last December by a divided KDH Board of Commissioners that ended up drawing straws and flipping a coin to select a replacement for former Commissioner Brandi Rheubottom, who had moved out of the county.

      Jones told the Sentinel that his reason for running is simple: "We haven't finished. We still have work to do. The big house issue, finishing the sidewalks on the bypass, creating a committee to look at the town properties and upgrade them." Noting he has lived in the town for 35 years and is a home builder, Jones added that he has "a lot of knowledge of the history of Kill Devil Hills” and wants to "give back a little bit" to the town where he has had a "great life."

      Ivy Ingram filed as a candidate on July 5. Having served on the board of Surfrider Foundation Outer Banks in various capacities since 2006, and as Co-Chair since 2016, she told the Sentinel that, with her term with Surfrider ending, that “will allow more time for the campaign and hopefully serving in the role of commissioner."

      Ingram added that she is running "because of my love for this town. Since moving here twenty years ago, I’ve always done some type of volunteer work to protect the community, whether it’s been working on committees to bring more child care or fighting offshore drilling. I hope to serve the people of Kill Devil Hills in this new capacity and continue the good work the mayor and board have done over the last several years.”

      Bernard McAvoy also filed on July 5. An attorney who practices law in the McAvoy Law Firm located in Kitty Hawk, McAvoy told the Sentinel that he has lived in Kill Devil Hills for 15 years and, "as an attorney and father of three, I've grown to love the town and the people and want to try to keep the town moving in the right direction. I feel the leadership before us has done a good job and I want to make sure that continues." He added that he feels he has "a lot to offer the town and its future."

      The filing period for the municipal elections ends July 19 at noon. Voter registration will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, and the election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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